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Capital Region readies for partial totality during Monday’s eclipse

At Albany city hall, officials practice their skyward gaze in anticipation of the April 8 eclipse.
Dave Lucas
At Albany city hall, officials practice their skyward gaze in anticipation of the coming April 8 eclipse.

Officials in Albany are readying for the solar eclipse on Monday.  

Digital traffic signs are already positioned along major travel routes warning of delays. People heading to northern New York and west as far as Buffalo to get a firsthand look at a total solar eclipse will likely pass through the city of Albany. Mayor Kathy Sheehan welcomes those who may be willing to settle for "partial totality" and elect to view the event in the capital city.

"We are not anticipating a huge influx of people, because we're not in the path of totality," said Sheehan. "People who are traveling, are traveling to totality. So they're going to places like Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, up to the north country. And I know that all of those places are telling people if you do not have a hotel reservation, if you do not have a place to stay, don't come because they're full. So you know, for those who might want to get part of the way, you know, you're welcome here."

 Jevan Dollard is the Special Events Manager at the Downtown Albany BID, which is hosting a Skyway Viewing Party. "It will truly be such a memorable way to experience this once in a lifetime cosmic event with your friends, family and community without even having to leave the city or sit in traffic," Dollard said. "There's no admission charge for Monday's event. It's free to enter, completely open to the public. The event begins at noon, and the first 500 guests to visit our welcome booth at the event will receive one of a kind commemorative 'downtown Albany to the core' eclipse viewing glasses. These glasses are approved for safe solar viewing."

Sheehan says there will be early dismissal Monday at city schools, and urges motorists to obey traffic rules. "So it's really important for parents to be aware of the fact that their kids are going to be coming home kids, our kids It's and you the protection of their eyes is critically important. And also this idea - do not stop on the highways on the road, do not double park on Central Avenue," said Sheehan, 

Albany Parking Authority acting executive director Sean Palladino says there designated spots to watch the eclipse.

"We don't want to have people parking in the streets, you know, getting out walking around looking at these things," said Palladino. "So we'll be providing event parking at our two garages at Quackenbush and at the Riverfront Garage. You know, they both are very close to either the Skyway or the Jennings Landing bridge over the Corning Preserve. We just want everybody to stay safe."

Sheehan urges everyone to heed recommendations offered by government officials. She adds public safety during the eclipse is priority one.

"So we will have signage out, and we, you know, the police chief and the fire chief have worked on a plan for it as well as DGS. To anticipate, we've been able to look at what happened in 2017, when there was an arc in the in North America where there were areas of totality, and lessons learned from that. And so I think that the reasons for charging your phone and putting bottled water in your car is that we are anticipating that there will be significant traffic passing, passing through this area, as people travel to totality and then drive back to wherever they are from. And so we want to ensure that people are prepared that they're not caught off guard, and that they are, you know, ready for this," Sheehan said. 

Totality will be experienced in the 3 p.m. hour in the Northeast.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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